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Judge Closes Finn McCool's for One Year | News

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Judge Closes Finn McCool's for One Year
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Some neighbors of a troubled bar in Scranton say they are relieved, after a judge ruled it should be shut down for a year.

The city asked the court to close Finn McCool's after a homicide last month. Late Wednesday afternoon, the judge issued his decision.

The night of the homicide at Finn McCool's last month was likely the last night the place will be open for at least a year.

The bar on Cedar Avenue has been closed since the shooting. Now, a Lackawanna County judge ruled it will stay closed until next year, June 1, 2012.

"I think it's a good thing," said neighbor Jim Nolan. "I mean it's been a long time since we've been able to sit out here and enjoy the weather at night. That's what we've been doing the past couple weeks, just sitting on the porch and it's quiet."

Jim Nolan has lived right across the street from the place for 15 years. Records show the bar has had 221 police calls in only the last two years.

"It had gotten real bad," added Nolan. "Anywhere after 9 o'clock at night it turned into a totally different neighborhood.'

Bar owner Michael Verrastro got blasted by the judge in his ruling.

Judge Carmen Minora wrote: "Mr. Verrastro made conscious, economically motivated decisions which allowed his premises to descend to the abhorrent depths, which they presently occupy."

So the judge shut the place for a year, the apartments upstairs too.

"No it's not closing it for good and I don't know how much money he has behind him but I would say if I had a business and didn't have any revenue for a year, my hope is that he doesn't come back at all," said Nolan.

In the judge's ruling he says his decision isn't just based on the homicide that happened here. He said that brought attention to the bar. The judge says his decision is more about everything that happened in the past. That's why this place is shut down for a year.

"I'm kind of amazed that it happened so quickly to be honest," said neighbor Kavan Munley.

He said he wasn't bothered as much by the bar, but knows it had troubles.

"I used to frequent the bar and I no longer do," added Munley.

The owner can appeal the ruling. But for now the building is off limits and free of consistent police activity.

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